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Film noir is a genre of crime film that was popularized from the 1940s to the 1950s. Its cynical characters, stark lighting, and existential philosophy are hallmarks of the style.[1] The tropes often came about from the rise of "hard-boiled" crime fiction from the Great Depression, with the familiar tropes of urbanism, fast-paced slang, sex, and violence came into print, which contrasts the previous decade's country house mystery.[2]


Common Imagery[]

  • Alcohol, often hard liquor
  • Fog
  • Guns, often revolvers
  • Large cities with art deco skyscrapers and warehouses
  • Nightclubs, bars, gambling dens, and other hedonistic locales
  • Rain
  • Smoking
  • Streetlights
  • Window blinds, creates a dramatic lighting effect

Common Characters[]

  • Private Investigator
  • Undercover policeman
  • An average man, victim of circumstance (typically a Fall Guy)
  • Corrupt Government Officials
  • The Mafia
  • Femme Fatale


The music typically associated with film noir is 1940s-1950s jazz, often at a slow tempo, with a strong saxophone presence, and a feeling of melancholy and sensuality.


Media Examples[]

For more, see the TVTropes index on the genre, as well as a list of one-off episodes in non-noir media.


  • Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)
  • The Maltese Falcon (1941)
  • Murder, My Sweet (1944)
  • Double Indemnity (1944)

Video games[]

  • Who Shot Johnny Rock? (1991)
  • L.A. Noire (2011)